She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, Season 5 (2020)

It’s been a wild ride, but here we are at last, at the final season of She-Ra. What started as a heroic fantasy tale has now turned into a sci-fi epic, which doesn’t at all resemble the story idea I’ve had in my head since middle school and I’m totally not at all annoyed that someone with more talent got to write it before I did, nope! Anyway, the gang gets gayer and fights God!

Horde Prime’s invasion of Etheria has happened, but pockets of the Resistance are fighting back against his army of robots and clones. Catra save Glimmer, effectively sacrificing herself so that Adora would not come to Prime’s ship, but the power of friendship is too strong and Adora, Bow, and Entrapta head there anyway. Adora rescues a brainwashed Catra, Bow and Entrapta grab a clone they call Wrong Hordak, and Hordak remembers Entrapta despite being brainwashed. The team heads back to Etheria only to find out that Horde Prime has been using his brainwashing technology to enslave half of the Resistance. The Best Friend Squad finds out the Heart of Etheria can be destroyed, but Prime gains access to it first. Hordak betrays Horde Prime (but is immediately turned into Prime’s new host body), Shadow Weaver sacrifices herself to save Adora and Catra, and the duo profess their love for each other and destroy the Heart of Etheria. She-Ra exorcises Prime from Hordak’s body, magic has been unleashed on Etheria, and the universe has been saved!

So, um… is Horde Prime God? He sees all, he knows all, he’s eternal, has a cult devoted to him, and is the bringer of light to the universe. A bit out there as a theory, right? Well, in researching what the weird signal coming from Beast Island is (there’s no good answer), I found a tweet from showrunner Noelle Stevenson that credited “evangelical propaganda” as a reason why the signal included sinister sounding backmasking (audio played in reverse), suggesting a religious upbringing. And what better foil to an angry God than overwhelming love and gayness?

It’s the final season, we can be as gay as we want! Perfuma and Scorpia flirting! Netossa and Spinnerella actual characters, confirmed to be married, and get a couple on screen kisses! Bow’s dads return with a dad joke! Double Trouble shows back up! We even have a minor character voiced by a trans actor! All the gay!! This is also the Catra redemption arc that the internet is in love with, and for good reason. She makes a selfless sacrifice to keep Adora away from Horde Prime, is rescued by her former best friend/enemy, and has to slowly redeem her way, often one person at a time. And in the end she’s not only rewarded with new friends, but a reciprocated lady love!

Just about everyone is great this season–special nod to Horde Prime for being a rather sassy villain, though not as queer coded as Double Trouble–but the breakout star was Wrong Hordak. A clone of Horde Prime that gets disconnected from the hive mind, he follows the Best Friend Squad thinking they’re close to Prime. As the group heads back to Etheria, he realizes that Prime is not the infallible leader he claims to be and decides the only thing to do is to bring an end to his reign. He’s silly, downright adorable at times, and my favorite for the season.

But there’s one thing about season 5 that bothered me: Hordak. He spends the vast majority of the season trying to ignore memories of Entrapta, and sure, at the end he does have a somewhat heroic moment! He attempts to kill Horde Prime! But he does it mostly because he created an identity for himself and explains that in a pseudo-villain monologue. And, um… He doesn’t try to kill She-Ra when he regains control of his body? I don’t know, I just felt his “redemption” was incredibly weak. “So, are we all just, like, okay with this?” Mermista asks when she sees Entrapta and Hordak together. I guess so. It’s just about my only complaint of an amazing season and an amazing series.


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